The Glorification of Sleep Deprivation and Why it Needs to Stop

Edited by: Lasya Adiraj


If you’re a college student, chances are that your sleep schedule is messed up.


Like, really messed up.


Chances are that you’re also somewhat proud of your lack of a proper sleep cycle. However, this is normal, given how sleep deprivation is glorified in college life. It’s very subtle, but it’s still there. Every time someone talks about pulling an all-nighter or sleeping through their classes, there is this undertone of a sense of pride and achievement. It is as if conforming to the notion that college does not allow you to have a normal sleep schedule somehow makes one fit into the role of a student. Sleep deprivation almost becomes a college experience you can’t afford to miss out on, because are you even a college-student if you aren’t perpetually sleep deprived?  


This needs to stop.


The glorification of sleep deprivation arises from the hustle culture our generation has deeply imbibed. We are constantly working, and every hour we spend not studying, we spend in guilt. Naturally, this leads to many people forgoing their sleep to make up for the amount of time they “wasted” while watching a bit of Netflix or hanging out with friends. And honestly, we are not to blame. The amount of work we have for each course is insane and the natural response is to live in a constant state of guilt and pressure. This has created a certain idea in the minds of college students that the only way we will be able to manage our course-load is by forgoing our sleep, which is not always true. Oftentimes, sleep deprivation is more a result of our poor time-management skills than anything else. And yet, people who actually have a functioning sleep-schedule, or go to sleep before the ungodly hour of 3 am , are the ones who are usually looked down upon. This is because the popular belief is that if you are getting enough sleep, you probably don’t have as much work as a sleep-deprived person does. I remember when I was on campus and going to bed at 12.30 am (which is frankly quite late for me) shocked an acquaintance of mine. I’ve never pulled an all-nighter during finals week and someone once told me that I was “lucky” I didn’t need to pull an all-nighter, but the thing is that no one needs to pull an all-nighter. Not unless you planned your entire semester in such a way that everything now depends on that one week of relentless studying during finals week.


So yes, the glorification of sleep deprivation needs to stop, because it does nothing but feed the toxic hustle culture of college life. Instead, what we should be glorifying and promoting is having a healthy sleep schedule and being better at time-management. People who are perpetually sleep-deprived and proud should realize that this is not only harmful for their mental health, but also their physical health. In fact, studies have shown that sleep helps you consolidate information better, so it is more beneficial for your academic life as well. You won’t get any brownie points in life for staying awake and fitting into the role of a sleep-deprived college student. There are so many experiences at college that we will all one day look back on with a nostalgic smile, but I guess it’s safe to say that as we grow older, we might wish that we had taken a nap when we could have. So, turn off your laptop and go close your sleep-laden eyes. Time is not running out and you will manage to get everything done anyway without losing your precious sleep.